Football Season Review

№8: Arsenal

Arsenal endured another very difficult season that saw them sacking Unai Emery in November and replacing him with Mikael Arteta in late December. The displays and results definitely improved after Arteta’s arrival and despite the disappointing league position, triumph in the FA Cup final over Chelsea still saw the Gunners qualifying for Europe for the 25th consecutive season! The improvement under Arteta, especially after the COVID-break, gives reasons for optimism, but the truth is that Arsenal again lacked defensive stability and this has been hurting the team for over 10 years now. The goal-scoring machine Aubameyang was the one thing that Arsenal could rely on all season. Another positive from the campaign was the progress made by several very talented teenagers - Wilock, Nelson, Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah all impressed and Arteta was very happy to trust them on plenty of occasions. Defensive frailties, sloppy individual displays in crucial games and endless issues with injuries were all serious weaknesses that affected the campaign. The Ozil problem also remained unresolved with the German star frozen out by Arteta, but still receiving his huge wage and preventing Arsenal from seriously strengthening the squad. Xhaka had a very mixed season that saw him losing the captain's armband in October after an ugly disagreement with fans, but then improving vastly under Arteta and finishing the season very well. Similar can be said for at least 5-6 other regulars, who had mixed seasons. With very limited financial manoeuvrability and yet another year without Champions League football, Arsenal are not expected to strengthen significantly this summer. However, with Arteta's ability to integrate his youngsters, the Gunners will be hoping for much better next season and their goal is to challenge for top 4 finish.

Player of the Season: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang